Keep your personal information updated in SOLAR. You’d be surprised how much it matters – and can matter in the future.
Go to Update Personal Information to see how to add or update your information. This affects any refunds you might receive, makes sure certificates or requested letters are sent to the correct address, who can obtain educational information about you, etc. In addition, you can select your preferred name to show in SOLAR, record how to pronounce your name, select your identity and pronouns, assign an emergency contact, you can even opt to add your student ID picture to class rosters!
New IEP Students and Checking In at ARC
After arriving in the US, or after transferring into The Tseng College, every new student must check in with the Office of Admissions, Registration and Client Services (ARC) and submit a Check-In Form along with copies from their passport.
If you are unable to make copies from your passport, we will be happy to make copies for you.
New IEP Students and Required Documents
Every new student - who is in the U.S. on an IEP I-20 - must check in with the Office of Admissions, Registration and Client Services (ARC) and submit the information listed above. ALL other forms, pictures, proof of insurance, or other documents that have been requested are submitted to the IEP Student Life office.
Maintaining Your F-1 Visa Status
As a student in the U.S. on an F-1 visa, you have certain rights and responsibilities. Maintaining your status involves not forgetting that your purpose for coming to the United States was to be a STUDENT. The U.S. Department of State issued you your visa based on your intended purpose. This means that you came to the U.S. to study. You should not take any action that takes away from that purpose.
For SEVIS-related questions and concerns, contact a DSO in Admissions, Registration and Client Services (ARC) in EU 200.
More information regarding studying in the United States can be found at:
Student Process Steps: How to Navigate the U.S. Immigration System
These are the requirements for IEP Students to Maintain F-1 Status
Tell a DSO in ARC if you are leaving the program permanently to avoid an ‘Auto-Termination’ in SEVIS. If IEP students do not show up for the next session and they have not told anyone in ARC or in the IEP Office, their I-20s can Auto-Terminate in SEVIS.
Do not overstay the 60-day grace period at the end of your studies. See "Completion of Studies" below for details.
Not Maintaining Status, or “Falling out of Status” and Terminated I-20s
Terminations Due to Violations
Any of the above violations can lead to “falling out of status” and termination of your I-20.
I-20s that are terminated because students failed to maintain status due to SEVIS violations are not eligible for a grace period after their I-20 has been terminated and are expected to depart the US immediately.
Violations that lead to terminations can leave a negative mark on a student’s record and can cause problems in the future when applying for a new F-1 visa or when applying for any type of visa.
Other Types of Termination that do not leave a Negative Mark on Your Record
Withdraw from school before the session ends
Sometimes students who are in status must withdraw from school and leave the U.S. Their I-20s are terminated but the reason in SEVIS is “Authorized Early Withdrawal.” This type of termination does not cause a permanent negative in SEVIS. Under these circumstances, students have a 15-day grace period to prepare for departure from the U.S.
SEVIS I-901 fee not paid
SEVIS will Terminate I-20s if the SEVIS I-901 fee has not been paid for that specific SEVIS ID number. Anytime someone receives a new SEVIS ID number, which happens when a brand-new I-20 is issued, not during a SEVIS transfer, not due to reinstatement, but a completely new I-20, the SEVIS I-901 fee must be paid. The SEVIS fee is supposed to be paid after receiving a new I-20 and before scheduling a visa interview. However, sometimes the payment is not recorded in SEVIS and those students are sent notices to pay. If not paid, SEVIS terminates their I-20s.
Must respond to a Form I-515A “Notice to Student or Exchange Visitor” within 30 days
SEVIS will Terminate I-20s if you do not respond in time after receiving a Form I-515A. These are given when CBP (Customs and Border Protection) allows a student to enter the US, temporarily, for 30 days. Form I-515A can be issued to both F-1 and F-2 visa holders when entering the U.S. for the following reasons: 1) do not have I-20 with you, 2) re-entering after travel and I-20 is not endorsed (signed) for travel, 3) using the wrong I-20, or 4) not having all required documents with you.
If you receive a Form I-515A, send in all required documents to the address on the I-515A within 30 days! Information about Form I-515A can be found at the Department of Homeland Security website. If one of the required documents is your I-20 and you don’t have yours, request a reprinted I-20. Contact a DSO in ARC if you have questions about the process. It is important to take care of a Form I-515A because if you do not, your I-20 will be terminated by SEVIS.
Passports and Visas
Passports must be valid when entering the United States. If you travel outside of the US, make sure to renew your passport before re-entering the U.S. to continue your studies.
If your expired passport has a valid visa, you can still use it if you kept the old passport. Present the old passport, along with the new passport when you re-enter the country.
You should keep your passport valid even if you are not traveling. Many countries allow you to renew your passport while in the U.S.
Visas must be valid for at least six months past the date you enter the United States. Students are permitted to stay in the U.S. with an expired F-1 visa as long as they stay in status in SEVIS. However, whenever students travel outside of the United States, they must have a valid visa to re-enter. Students who leave the US with expired visas must apply to a US Consulate for a new (updated) visa before attempting to re-enter the US.
Lost or Stolen Passports, Visas, I-20s
If your passport is lost or stolen, contact your local embassy in the U.S. for a replacement passport. If it was stolen, report the theft to the police, too.
Passports can be replaced while in the U.S., but visas are not replaced. (Visas are only needed to enter the US.)
Extension of Stay
IEP I-20s are issued for 12 months. Some students stay in IEP for a shorter time than 12 months, some stay longer than 12 months. If you will be in the IEP after the ‘Program End Date’ printed on your I-20, request an extension of stay. Avoid risking your SEVIS status, submit the request at least 3 weeks prior to the program end date on your I-20.
Completion of Studies
Only for students who maintained their SEVIS status:
After completing your last session in IEP, you have 60 days to either prepare for departure from the U.S. or to transfer to another school.
If you are leaving the United States and not returning within the next 5 months, you have 60 days to prepare for departure from the US.
During that 60-day grace period, you:
- can stay in the United States and not attend school
- can travel WITHIN the U.S. only.
- can leave the U.S. permanently on any day during the 60-day grace period
- CANNOT travel outside of the US and re-enter the US
- should report that you are not returning. If you answered, “NO, I am returning to my home country” on a recent Continuation Survey, that is all you need to do. If you did not answer the most recent Continuation Survey, tell a DSO in ARC that you are not returning. This is to prevent problems that could affect you, years in the future, if you want to visit the U.S. again (not just on a student visa, but also as a visitor, and other visa types).
If you are transferring to a new school, you:
- must request to transfer out
- must provide a written proof of admission to the new school in enough time to be transferred before the 60-day grace period ends
- must attend the first available session at the new school
- can travel in and out of the U.S. in the time before the new school starts, or not travel at all
- must use the new school’s I-20 to re-enter the U.S. if you travel while between schools